Even the most casual beauty shopper knows that products can vary wildly in quality and price. And for every bargain-basement, drugstore mascara and lipstick promising unlikely results there’s a high-end designer equivalent that you’d need to take out a second mortgage to be able to afford. But how important is it to splash the cash when stocking your makeup bag? And when can you get away with a cheaper alternative?
These days, beauty blogs are full of mentions of ‘dupes’ – products that promise the same results as their premium counterparts for a fraction of the price. So which ones live up to the hype? And when should you just save up your pennies for the designer version?
The good news is that, in many cases, there’s no need to splash out on the high end version. And what’s more, it’s pretty easy to track the most popular beauty dupes down. Products such as Rimmel eye shadows, L’Oreal foundations and Barry M lipsticks are well known for recreating the effects of products by designer brands such as Urban Decay, Giorgio Armani and MAC. But of course, high-end beauty brands exist for a reason, and you won’t always find a good alternative to that miracle-working, £200 face cream you’ve had your eye on for months.
A good rule of thumb is to look at active ingredients – and how much of them a product contains. For example, a £10 under-eye concealer might boast the same anti-ageing formula as one that costs ten times that amount. But look at the small print, and you’ll probably find that the cheaper product only contains a tiny proportion of the ingredient in question.
When trying to figure out how much to spend on a beauty product, it’s also worth considering what you hope to achieve. For example, do you need a lipstick that hydrates your skin and stays put without smudging or fading for 24 hours? Or are you happy to freshen up a couple of times throughout the day if it means saving ££s? Generally speaking, beauty dupes are a great idea for products such as lipsticks, eyeshadows and blusher, but anything that has deeper, more prolonged contact with your skin might warrant closer consideration.
So when should you splash the cash? Products such as BB creams, foundations and concealers are often worth the higher price tags, especially if you have problematic skin. With these, you’re often getting more than just coverage – some also contain high-end ingredients that will help fight breakouts or reduce the signs of ageing. Of course, like anything, you should check the active ingredients first – a high price point does not necessarily mean a better product.